Recipe Source: Johnson, Margaret M. The New Irish Table. Chronicle Books, San Francisco 2003 p.88
I'm trying very, very hard to be more economical in the kitchen. It's not that we're hurting, it's because I don't like being wasteful. Sometimes you just have to splurge, though. As long as it doesn't happen every day, or even every week, it's okay, right? I found venison the last time I went to my hometown, and I bought some and brought it home and froze it because I can't find any of that around here and it is such a nice, special little treat. It isn't cheap. Neither, I should be honest, is the duck bacon, which I also bought in bulk and froze. I used both in this recipe and while the cost makes it a very special treat indeed it was so incredibly worth it.
I made a few changes. I didn't use as much venison as the original called for, because as I mentioned that stuff isn't cheap. I used duck bacon. You can probably use pig bacon if you have no medical or religious objections to it, which will significantly decrease your cost per serving. I used vegetable broth instead of beef broth because I had it on hand. I increased the garlic on general principles. The original recipe was called "Burgundy Venison," but I used Merlot. I changed the parsley for rosemary. They are nothing alike. That's kind of the point, I don't much care for parsley. The white mushrooms became baby Bellas because I prefer them. (I realize that the difference is really minor.) My only complaint about this dish was the orange zest. I included it, but I felt that it was really too much for the other flavors in this stew. If I were to make this dish again I'd probably do it with a lot less zest, or omit the zest altogether.
I also need to point out that this dish made an unholy mess of my Dutch oven. I'm still trying to chisel it out. It was still worth it.
Merlot Venison (serves 3; approx. $14.26/serving)
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces duck bacon
2 onions, diced
1 package (12 oz?) venison tenders, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 cups Merlot (have some for yourself, if you've a mind to!)
2 cups vegetable broth
6 garlic cloves, chopped
zest of 1 orange
12 juniper berries
2 sprigs each rosemary, tarragon and thyme, tied in a cheesecloth square
5 ounces baby Bella mushrooms
- Slotted spoon
- Dutch oven
- Heat the oil in the Dutch oven.
- Add the bacon. Cook until crisp. Evacuate to a plate with paper towels. Try not to eat too much of it.
- Add the onions to the pan. Cook until browned.
- Add the meat. Cook 2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don't worry about sticking to the pan, that's supposed to happen a little bit.
- Sprinkle the flour over mixture and stir until well coated. Cook another couple of minutes or so.
- Stir in the wine, broth, garlic, zest and juniper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Add the bouquet garni (the herbs in the cheesecloth). Cover and cook 1 1/2 hours.
- Add the bacon and mushrooms. Cook, uncovered, another 20 minutes.
- Discard the bouquet garni.